SOUTH BEND – Indiana leaves it up to public universities to come up with plans on how to prepare for dealing with a gunman on campus.
Eight years after the Virginia Tech massacre prompted tighter campus security measures, a review by The Associated Press of practices in more than three dozen states found plans that range from mandatory active shooter training for incoming students to little guidance.
All of Indiana’s public universities have emergency alert systems that send texts and emails to students and staff, and all four-year institutions except the University of Southern Indiana have armed police officers; USI has unarmed public safety officers. Ivy Tech Community College, with 32 campuses throughout Indiana, has unarmed security officers.
Indiana hasn’t had a mass shooting on campus, although Purdue University had a shooting in a crowded classroom in January 2014. Cody Cousins, 24, of Warsaw was sentenced to the maximum 65 years in prison in the death of Andrew Boldt, 21, of West Bend, Wisconsin.
Cousins committed suicide last October at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.
Purdue, which has a main campus in West Lafayette and regional campuses in Fort Wayne, Hammond and Westville, recommends sheltering in place as a first option, saying people should stay there until police or a known campus administrator gives the all-clear.
If an active shooter enters an office or classroom, the plan advises people to either escape, negotiate with the shooter or "overpower the shooter (should be considered as a very last resort)."
Ball State University in Muncie and Indiana State University in Terre Haute also advocate seeking shelter in a locked room as a first option and attempting to overpower the gunman as a last resort.
Ivy Tech, Indiana University – which has eight campuses, including IPFW – and the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville advocate trying to run from an active shooter when possible, then trying to hide and fighting only as a last resort.
Vincennes University has a 48-page emergency management plan that advises students and staff at the campus 120 miles southwest of Indianapolis to take cover immediately if there is a violent crime or threat involving "gunfire or explosives."
Vincennes spokeswoman Kristi Deetz said the school is in the process of introducing a safety video produced by the Center for Personnel Protection & Safety that is also used by Purdue. She also said postings around campus describe steps to take in emergencies, including sheltering in place.